Posted by: karanoel | January 24, 2011

An act of trust

Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.” Genesis 22:2

While talking about Abraham, it’s hard to avoid the fact that he didn’t just proclaim a trust in God but acted on it. We know of this trust because of what he was willing to sacrifice – the very thing that God had promised; a promise he held onto despite every reason not to; the fulfillment of which he carried in the depths of his heart… his son, Isaac, and the innumerable descendants and blessing to all people made possible through him.

In our Christian logic – or mine anyway – we would reason away God’s request to offer Isaac up as a sacrifice. After all, why would God ask us to give back a gift He Himself had given and one that would cancel out the other parts of the promise? Just doesn’t make sense. So we would ignore the voice of the Giver and cling to the gift, considering ourselves the guardians – maybe even the saviors – of it. But that’s not what Abraham did. He trusted God beyond the initial giving of the centerpiece of his existence and the sole link of promise to his future generations. He trusted Him for the entire life – and death – and resurrection – of this boy.

This story hits quite a tender spot in me. Not that God ever asked me to hold up a knife to my son, but about 7 years ago I had an experience that felt like the equivalent. I won’t go into the details, but trusting God in this circumstance for the wellbeing of the son God had used to save my life – oh jeez, definitely the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. I was backed into a corner where I couldn’t protect him from what seemed like certain harm. I cried until I thought my heart was torn in half, and told God I felt like He was asking of me what He had asked of Abraham countless generations before. “That’s exactly what I’m asking. Will you trust Me?” By some miraculous measure of grace, I said yes, I would trust Him with my only treasure. Peace flooded my heart and I knew, just as Abraham did, that God had the power to resurrect Cole from the ashes of this situation. After the trust had been forged in the heat of the fire, the inevitable harm was snuffed out so completely there was hardly a trace that it had ever existed.

You can’t walk these things out unchanged. I didn’t. I’m pretty sure Abraham or for that matter, Isaac, didn’t either. Trust is a force to be reckoned with. Think about someone you have been through hard things with; someone whose friendship has been tested on rocky paths and proven true. I imagine it would be nearly impossible to get you to believe something contrary to what you had seen with your eyes and known with your heart. So it is with God. If we read about Him and sing about Him and think nice thoughts about Him, we may know about Him. But we don’t really know Him. So when hard things come and we feel accusations arise and we hear unkind things about Him, we have nothing to stand on. It is only through these difficult times, when we press into Him as a friend, that we come to see that He is always faithful. That He always cares. That He always has our best at heart.

About three years back, I had another test of this friendship. It was a different kind of surrender; almost as difficult as the first. It was the surrendering of a hope; stepping back into a place of waiting and trusting that God saw me and knew me and hadn’t forgotten me. Once again, my heart was shredded and raw and hurt. The desires of my heart looked trampled. Peace didn’t come as quickly this time. But I pressed in and found a path lined with the sweetest tokens of love. And I found that trust had grown stronger.

I am once again watching this friendship unfold, feeling the tension of hopes and expectations pull against surrender. I feel an achy heart that is wrestling to lay down its desires. I also feel life rising back up, empowering me to take a stance of ruthless trust. I am excited… about these next two weeks in particular… as I bring all that I have to His altar, lay my eyes on my true Treasure, and witness His glory. Whatever that may look like.


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